Document Type


Date of Original Version



Civil and Environmental Engineering


This paper presents an experimental and numerical investigation into the fracture response of mortars containing up to 30% waste iron powder by volume as OPC-replacement. The iron powder-modified mortars demonstrate significantly improved strength and fracture properties as compared to the control mortars due to presence of elongated iron particulates in the powder. With a view to develop a predictive tool towards materials design of such particulate-reinforced systems, fracture responses of iron powder-modified mortars are simulated using a multiscale numerical approach. The approach implements multi-scale numerical homogenization involving cohesive zone-based damage at the matrix-inclusion interface and isotropic damage in the matrix to obtain composite constitutive response and fracture energy. Consequently, these results serve as input to macro-scale XFEM-based three-point-bend simulations of notched mortar beams. The simulated macroscopic fracture behavior exhibit excellent match with the experimental results. Thus, the numerical approach links the material microstructure to macroscopic fracture parameters facilitating microstructure-guided material design.